Through writing my original work article, I learned more than I ever could have in a classroom. Creating a piece of journalistic work on my own has taught me how many different pieces go into writing a story, as well as how to successfully complete those processes on my own. In writing my article, I have had to complete every step of the process by myself, whereas professional journalists almost always have help in the workplace. From now on, I will always be prepared to take on the full workload, and any additional help will simply be a blessing. The creation of my original work has, quite literally, allowed me to experience what a journalist actually does in the workplace on a daily basis.
The process of going out into the real world to acquire quotes from outside sources has taught me about the steps necessary to obtain the highest quality and most reliable information as possible. I learned that in order to ensure that I cover all perspectives on the subject of my story, I need to compile a long list of diverse potential sources. When attempting to get comments from current FISD school board members for my article, not a single one of them replied; I did not know who to turn to next, and I was at a loss on professionals to interview until Coach Goff gave me a few additional contacts. In the future, I can avoid this predicament by doing background research on multiple individuals or groups who could even potentially be connected to the story. Another lesson I have learned about consulting sources is that a journalist has to be bold and up front about what exactly they are asking. If a journalist beats around the bush or tries to make a question sound nicer than it is, the meaning could become lost on the interviewee and they may end up answering a question you weren’t asking. When interviewing Dr. Reedy, I asked broad questions and received minutes-long answers; while I was extremely grateful for his detailed responses, I realized that I could have refined my questions more in order to get more focused answers.
Composing my own full length story has also helped me to develop my own unique voice as a journalist. While remaining objective, I have learned how to insert humor, develop my ideas, and elaborate an appropriate amount without being excessive or redundant. Before I wrote my article, I was quite wordy in my writing. As I went, I had to fine-tune my work, eliminating any excess commentary that distracted from the purpose of the story. While essays in English classes preach lengthy commentary, it is essential to avoid personal comments or opinions in print journalism as much as possible, unless the piece calls specifically for it. Composing my first piece of journalistic work has taught me a crucial skill in the journalism industry- how to separate my two voices as a writer. I can now write both as the one who is able to take a clear stance and elaborate for paragraphs on my views, and the one who tells real-world stories featuring only the unique views of others.
The completion of my original work has also revealed to me the rewarding side of writing that my potential mentors all told me about. In every one of my informational interviews, the interviewee told me that the most rewarding part of journalism is putting your name on a piece that you are proud of, something that you know is going to have an impact on people. I had the privilege of experiencing this feeling; the fluttering in my heart and butterflies in my stomach when I finished my first original piece has me hooked. My original work, above all, has affirmed that writing is something that I most definitely want to be doing for a long, long time to come.